How far does your expressway avoidance take you?


Showing undesirable pedestrian and sidewalk conditions under the Kennedy Expressway on Belmont Avenue at Kedzie Avenue. There is a bus stop here, on a portion of the sidewalk that narrows to about 2 feet. It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I realized that there is no bus route on Kedzie Avenue making this bus stop’s location quite ridiculous. There are bus stops in both directions on Belmont Avenue that are actually near businesses and residences. Explore on Google Street View.

I shop for groceries mostly at Aldi. The one nearest my house is 3,725 feet by walking (about 0.71 miles), the Avondale Aldi. The next closest store is 11,102 feet away (about 2.1 miles), the Lincoln Square Aldi, and the third closest is 11,599 feet away (about 2.2 miles), the Wicker Park Aldi. I live at Belmont and California, in Avondale.

I shop at the third closest one the most often. The Wicker Park Aldi is at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street. The reasons I shop here instead of the other two, considering that it’s two-thirds closer to home, are based on two travel factors: trip chaining (the practice of attaching multiple trips into the same one so one leaves the house less often), and trip quality (the characteristics that make the trip interesting, not interesting, safe, and unsafe). A trip, as counted by transportation planners like myself, is movement from one address to another.

For example, the Chicago Transit Authority counts trips taken on its buses and trains as “boardings”, each time a passenger pays for the bus or passes an ‘L’ station turnstile. When people change routes on the same platform or station, this additional trip isn’t counted because there’s no mechanism to do so. A person who takes a bus to an ‘L’ station is counted twice in CTA’s reports (note 1).

Continue reading How far does your expressway avoidance take you?

Eyes on the street: No pedestrian access at intersections


At the southeast corner of Madison and Green Streets. Fortunately, only 1 corner was impassable. The same isn’t true for some of the other intersections under construction. 

Does your neighborhood look like this?

Across the northwest side, including Logan Square, Avondale and West Loop, many intersections and alleys are having their curb cuts rebuilt to be compliant with transportation standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At all of the construction sites I’ve passed by, none have alternate access or signage for pedestrians, forcing people’s paths to divert into the street and into traffic.


At the southeast corner of Diversey and Kedzie Avenues. This corner was completely non-barricaded at the time of the photo. 

Continue reading Eyes on the street: No pedestrian access at intersections

Can I just cross the street safely for a burger?


Two guys trying to cross Belmont Avenue towards Kuma’s Corner in 2008. 

My mom, sister, and I were walking to Kuma’s Corner in Avondale tonight (2900 W Belmont Ave). We were starting to cross Belmont Avenue along Francisco Avenue. Eastbound traffic was backed up at the Elston Avenue/California Avenue light so we easily slipped through stopped traffic. Then we looked to the east at fast moving westbound traffic.

Westbound Belmont Avenue has two lanes at this time of day because of rush hour parking controls (RHPC). You probably know what this is but never knew what it’s called. It’s when you can’t park a car on one side of the street during a morning or afternoon two-hour stretch, and you can’t park on the opposite side of the street during the opposite period. It’s to facilitate faster moving traffic and I believe to relieve congestion. Whether it does that is a good question.

Anyway, there were two lanes of fast moving traffic and there were no gaps so we couldn’t cross. Don’t pedestrians have the right of way when crossing streets? Or do they need permission? I understatedly mentioned something about this to my mother, saying “The law requires that drivers stop for people in crosswalks”.

My mother took this as a cue to throw up her hands in disgust and shout, “Can we cross? Let’s go!”

I don’t know if the two drivers in the two lanes heard her, but they obviously saw her gesture and stopped their vehicles. I told her, “No one does that”, referring to the gesture and shout.

Maybe that’s the key to demanding our right to safely cross.

Right after this happened, I tweeted, “@ChicagoDOT what are you doing to increase compliance w/ ‘stop for peds in crosswalk’ law? Does the CPD pull over drivers anymore? #walkCHI”